“I know I should pretend to be a lot cooler than I am, but inside there’s a screaming teenage girl just dying to get out,” Cat Deeley tells EW. The feeling is mutual. The host of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance earned her first Emmy nomination after years of being snubbed (something fans — and EW — have been lamenting since the category was introduced in 2008). “‘Ohmygod, you’ve done it!'” she says her publicist told her on the phone this morning. “I’ve got a couple of friends staying with me at the moment, so everyone was there in pajamas with giant hair and slightly sleepy eyes but completely delighted and sharing in the glee of it all,” Deeley says. “It was a fun morning. Because I style myself for the show, I had to literally throw everything into a bag and then come to the show. It’s been very hectic, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else to celebrate it really.”
Having a show tonight — during which we’ll find out Season 8’s Top 10 dancers and their new all-star partners — does present one problem. “There’s bottles of champagne that have been delivered to rooms, but no corks have actually been popped just yet,” Deeley says. “We are a live show, and we ended up snogging Mary Murphy last week without the help of champagne, so god only knows what I’d have to deal with tonight if those corks start going too soon.” She won’t get to celebrate too heavily after tonight’s show either — she’s got to go home and learn lines for the cameo she’s filming tomorrow for Showtime’s Don Cheadle series House of Lies.
Ask Deeley what she did differently last season to finally nab the nomination, and she’s at a loss. But she won’t let the recognition go to her head, which she proved at 5:45 a.m. this morning when her boss at Fox, Mike Darnell, called to congratulate her. “We get on really well, but it’s normally by trading insults almost to the point of being offensively rude, but we love it,” she says. “So he gets on the phone, ‘Ohmygoodness, it’s so great. It’s so amazing. I can’t believe it. It’s so well-deserved. And it’s long pass time.’ And I’m just like, ‘Okay, stop. I find this really weird that you’re being so nice to me, and I’m not happy with it. I’m incredibly uncomfortable with it.’ And he’s like, ‘Okay, well how about this then: How come it only took you seven years?’ I’m like, ‘Okay, you s—. Get lost.'”
Deeley won’t reveal if the show has something special planned for her on-air tonight. “Maybe they might throw something at me,” she guesses. We suspect she’s right, especially after guest judge Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family) gave her a public endorsement on last night’s show — and returns tonight with an Emmy nomination himself. With So You Think You Can Dance receiving its first nod for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program and multiple choreographers being recognized as well, Deeley jokes, “We might just form one long conga chain in one giant circle and just pat each other on the back furiously.”
Looking ahead, Deeley can’t tease how fans will feel about tonight’s bottom couples because producers won’t tell her who they are. “I am a blabbermouth, and I tend to love to have a chat, so they don’t trust me with that kind of information,” she says. And while she hasn’t thought of the Emmy campaign she’ll mount to defeat category vets Jeff Probst, Phil Keoghan, Tom Bergeron, and Ryan Seacrest, she does have big plans to cash in on her Emmy nomination. “I will be coming out with a range of T-shirts, mugs, mousepads, and possibly even a rug with my face on it,” she laughs. “So if you love me or hate me, you’ve got something to wipe your feet on.”